Now Is The Time To Fight Corruption And Strengthen Our Institutions By Ogundana Michael Rotimi
Politicians will say whatever it takes to get elected. Every one of them swears they’ll be less corrupt, and less corruptible, than the lot in power.
That is, of course, trivially true, if only because being out of power means you have no power to sell. As long as government power exists, private interests will figure out a way to corrupt it. Everyone has their price; hence, a possible cure for corruption is to elect incorruptible politicians. A more certain cure is to withhold power from them in the first place.
However, when people stand up and take a stand, there is something beautiful and powerful about it. It sends the message that nothing will be done or achieved without their involvement. Furthermore, it sends a message to those in leadership positions that people are growing tired of the slow pace of development in the society. Development in all its forms, which includes; the economy, human settlements, alleviating poverty, equality and justice, provision of quality education and healthcare, etc.
As Nigeria enters another phase of its democratic dispensation, we must avoid those things that keep us crawling and that have not made us achieve substantial progress as a developing nation. And act speedily to improve on those things that have helped us record tangible achievements.
The road towards a real transformation and reconciliation of our nation is never going to be as easy as change itself. That is why from day one of the inauguration of the General Buhari`s administration, he must be held accountable for all government actions and inactions. Fear of losing power is the greatest way to keep politicians on check, and retain power with the people. The people must stand up to their responsibilities to keep the government on the check at all times.
The fact that for about 16 years of unbroken democratic setup, we are still as a nation grappling with basic issues, like road, water, quality education, power etc and still unlikely that we will have them put to bed any time soon, shows we have a long way to go. Meanwhile, that shouldn`t be taken as an excuse from the General Buhari`s administration.
The President- Elect, General Buhari must know that, with 16 years of democracy, we cannot shy away from the fact that the people who have been victims of slow pace of developments in the society, such as in education, power, economic opportunities, security, affordable healthcare, etc. are becoming impatient of the whole incidence that leave them hopeless. While those in power focus their attention on amassing wealth by looting the state coffers, with which citizens have trusted them with. Hence, he must quickly arrest the situation to restore hope to the people by delivering on his promises of substantial change to the people. As it stands now, the people are watching closely and would not be magnanimous again to tolerate government failures.
Yes we know that the removal of President Goodluck Jonathan from power will not remove over night the many challenges of our nation and will not automatically put an end to our struggles. However, I feel it has set the nation on a path towards having meaningful conversations and finding solutions for building a new Nigeria and a new heritage. It has opened up the long awaited and needed opportunities to fight corruption and to strengthen existing institutions and build more reliable institutions.
Corruption and weak institutions are parts of the challenges facing our nation and are responsible for many of our problems. No nation can strive where this duo exists. It will not be wrong to say that, one of the reasons why President Jonathan was voted out, is due to his undiluted affection for corruption and corrupt persons and for destroying institutions to get away with his many atrocities.
Government’s budgets on yearly basis are huge enough. But implementations fail year after year because corruption does not give room for performance and achievements. Over the past 16 years, government has budgeted hugely on every sector of the country. But years on, it seems efforts have not been made to get the jobs done in these sectors. The reason is not farfetched from the fact that, money budgeted, signed and released has not been effectively utilized due to corruption.
For General Buhari to bring those changes he promised during his campaign, he must eliminate the corruption endemic at all levels of government. When he does this, so many other things will fall in place. Money will be channelled accurately, jobs will be done effectively, and meaningful results will be achieved.
The fact remains that, with clean government, you double the speed of rolling out major infrastructure projects like hospitals, roads, and school upgrades etc.
In addition, with clean government, we can double the rate of delivery of basic services, like security, provision of jobs, alleviation of poverty, justice, etc. – We can deliver it better.
On making our institutions stronger; strengthening existing institutions and building more reliable ones, remain key to Nigeria’s socio-political development and sustenance of its democratic structures. It must be noted that a combination of strong institutions and good leaders would fast-track development in all sectors of the country.
In strengthening our institutions, we must start by building values, structures, and processes. With these three elements in place, no individual will be placed above the law, government will function optimally, and accountability will be made easy. If the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practise and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC) are strong enough, corruption cases and corrupt persons will be brought to justice and not be swept under the carpets. If the security agencies are strong enough, curbing insecurity challenges would be effective. If the Judiciary is strong enough, people will not necessarily result into violence when they know they can seek redress in the court of law. Etc
If General Buhari can focus on these two things, it would not be long that Nigerians will start feeling the positive change they wanted so badly.
God Bless Nigeria
Ogundana Michael Rotimi
I tweet @MickeySunny